Types of Ginseng
Most people have heard of ginseng, even
if it is just through brand name ginseng product television advertisements.
Names like Siberian ginseng, red ginseng, Asian ginseng, and American ginseng
appear in the news, in advertisements, and in stores. Siberian ginseng
(Elutherococcus senticsus) is a plant discovered when researchers were
attempting to find alternatives to American ginseng. It is native to northern
Asia and has little value as a crop for America. Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng)
is the original ginseng. This plant has been used by Traditional Chinese
Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. Commercial cultivation of roots in Asian
is a HUGE industry. American producers, while growing
this crop in some cases, have limited opportunity to successfully compete in
this market. American ginseng (Panax quiquefolius) is the true wild ginseng of
North America. This is the ginseng suggested for cultivation in
All of these types of ginseng are used as adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs taken to restore your equilibrium, to use an old quote, "to fix what ails you." Because TCM focuses more on maintaining health than on curing diseases, ginseng has enjoyed a fairly good demand. Even during the recent downturn in the Asian economy, wild ginseng sold for $250 a pound. American ginseng also serves as a caffeine substitute and even a seasoning.